Vampires and other supernatural creatures have always represented marginalised identities and experiences.
Among other creatures such as werewolves (or lycanthropes) and faeries, vampires are the queerest.
Pop culture contains plenty of vampire horror that’s directly or subtextually queer.
Even in eras when queerness was more frowned on, horror has leaned all the way into the homoerotic.
Here are five of the many horror movies that prove just how queer most (even all) vampires are.
Daughters of Darkness (1971)
Horror in the 70s usually explored what were considered taboo topics, from The Last House on the Left (1972) and Suspiria (1977) to I Spit on Your Grave (1978).
Queer female vampires seducing women into becoming their partners? Definitely taboo for that era, and precisely what Daughters of Darkness is about.
The movie focuses on a newlywed couple, Valerie (Danielle Ouimet) and Stefan (John Karlen), who vacation at a resort and meet Countess Elizabeth Báthory (Delphine Seyrig).
It’s a movie that does and doesn’t do much, but its queerness is outright.
Ultimately, the Countess wins Valerie from her abusive husband, but it ends in tragedy.
Aside from the faults of this movie, there are a few things to unpack.
The Countess and her vampirism are the embodiment of otherness, while Stefan represents heteronormativity and male dominance for Valerie.
The Hunger (1983)
What can be said about this movie? It has quite the aesthetic and even David Bowie.
To say this is an incredibly queer vampire movie is an understatement.
It’s erotic and stylish and features one effective and non-male-gazey sex scene between women.
It’s as if as viewers we interrupt a private moment between women indulging in desire and pleasure.
The plot of The Hunger gets lost along the way and overall becomes too focused on erotic energy.
But it ultimately provides yet another example of vampires being queer and how queer women’s sexual confidence is powerful.
Fright Night (1985)
Many components of this movie are overflowing with camp.
It’s meant to be funny and hypnotising in certain spots, and it manages to explore a lot of queer themes underneath the humour of it all.
Fright Night follows Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale), who finds out his neighbour Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) is a vampire and desperately tries to get people to believe him.
Naturally, Jerry is seductive and sways most people around him, including his roommate, Billy Cole (Jonathan Stark).
Everything about Jerry’s brand of vampirism screams queer.
He even goes so far as to bring Charley’s best friend Edward ‘Evil Ed’ Thompson and his girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse) to his side of the fence.
Vampirism represents desire and the rejection of societal norms, heavily leaning into queerness.
The Lost Boys (1987)
This movie was influential to horror and the depictions of vampires in general.
It was a major success as well, which certainly helped its contribution to horror and pop culture.
The plot isn’t overly complex: it’s about a recently divorced mom who moves with her two sons, Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim), to live with her father.
Michael eventually falls in with the wrong crowd.
More importantly, the movie is incredibly punk and has so much queer subtext (but let’s be honest – it’s more in your face).
This is especially the case with the energy and chemistry between Michael and David (Kiefer Sutherland), the major queer aspect of the film that’s discussed.
Michael willingly drinks Michael’s blood, even during the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the time.
The late director, Joel Schumacher, was also a gay man.
The vampires and even some of the humans in The Lost Boys are clearly coded as queer.
A gang of intersectional queer feminist vampires? Say hello to Bit.
While the movie received poor reviews and wasn’t as put together as it could have been, it’s a neon queer adventure with a trans character and actress (Nicole Maines) as the lead.
This still isn’t common in any genre, let alone horror.
The gang seeks out predatory men and kills them – and what’s queerer than being tired of cishet men?
The cast isn’t super well-known, and overall, the movie is more focused on its representation than doing something with it.
Does that negate how it uses vampirism as a subtext for otherness, like many horror movies before it? No, it doesn’t.
It’s worth at least one watch to see if going in for a second one is worth it.
The film gets major brownie points for actually casting a trans woman to play a trans woman, powerful representation in itself.